Press Releases

Houlahan, Members of PA Delegation Urge Biden to Approve Major Disaster Declaration Request

PENNSYLVANIA – Today, Representative Chrissy Houlahan (D-PA) announced she and ten other members of the Pennsylvania congressional delegation sent a bipartisan, bicameral letter to President Joe Biden urging him to swiftly consider and approve Governor Tom Wolf’s major disaster declaration request.

 

"The morning after Hurricane Ida, small business owners in our community were still clearing mud and debris from their stores,” said Houlahan. "One emergency responder told me they had eight feet of water inside their building. It’s hard to fathom that level of flooding and destruction, but those are just two examples. Sadly, too many in our community have similar stories.”

 

In part, the letter to President Biden reads: This last week has been devastating for many Pennsylvanians – storms, tornados and massive flooding caused loss of life and major damage to homes and property. Therefore, we ask you to swiftly consider and approve the major disaster declaration request from Governor Wolf.

 

“In the days since this devastating storm, one thing remains clear – we need federal help to continue recovering,” Houlahan added. “By approving the Governor’s major disaster declaration request, President Biden will get our community the necessary resources to build back stronger than before. I join many in our Commonwealth in urging him to do so without pause.”

 

In addition to Houlahan, the letter was signed by Pennsylvania Reps. Dean (D), Fitzpatrick (R), Scanlon (D), Cartwright (D), Wild (D), Evans (D), Lamb (D), Doyle (D), and Boyle (D) and Senator Casey (D).

 

Read the full text of the letter here and below.

 

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September 8, 2021

 

The Honorable Joseph R. Biden Jr.

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

Re: Stafford Act Major Disaster Declaration for Ida Impacts in Pennsylvania

 

Dear President Biden,

 

This last week has been devastating for many Pennsylvanians – storms, tornados and massive flooding caused loss of life and major damage to homes and property. Therefore, we ask you to swiftly consider and approve the major disaster declaration request from Governor Wolf. Your action will direct federal support to our communities who desperately need it.

 

In the days since Tropical Depression Ida tore across Pennsylvania, federal, state, and local officials have taken measure of the significant human and physical damage. The storm killed at least five residents, knocked out power for 110,000 customers, caused well over $100 million in damage to public infrastructure, and wrecked many homes. Rainfall amounts shocked lifelong Pennsylvanians. Harrisburg, Altoona, Scranton, Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks counties all recorded record or near record rainfall. This rain fell on already saturated ground and higher than usual waterways—resulting in flooding in rivers and streams across the Commonwealth. 

 

As you know, the Stafford Act authorizes you to approve a request from a governor for federal support for recovery efforts outlined in law. We believe that Pennsylvania qualifies for and needs that support. In anticipation of the hurricane, Governor Wolf signed a proclamation of disaster emergency for the Commonwealth on Tuesday, August 31 – and our county, local elected officials, and volunteers responded quickly by setting up emergency shelters, hotlines, and other resources. We are grateful for their service in getting state resources out quickly.

 

Nevertheless, now that federal, commonwealth, and local authorities have assessed the damage, it is clear that Pennsylvania needs robust federal assistance to recover. The historic and unprecedented rain and flooding devastated our communities – and we ask that you approve Governor Wolf’s federal relief request as soon as possible. Pennsylvania’s families and communities need to know that the federal government stands with them now.

 

Thank you for considering this urgent need and request. Please reach out to our offices with any questions. We look forward to your response.

 

Sincerely,

 

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Houlahan is an Air Force veteran, an engineer, a serial entrepreneur, an educator and a nonprofit leader. She represents Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, which encompasses Chester County and southern Berks County. She serves on the House Armed Services Committee, the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Small Business Committee.

 

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